The building at 662 S. Green River Road, home to the Nance family and Nance Galleries since 1958, contains a pristine world of color, art, and antiques inside. Some amazing gems are hidden among the exquisite items and local goods for sale.
One such item is an authentic, vintage carpenter’s bench from the 1880s and is one of many collectibles from owner Curt Nance’s personal stock that he uses as display cases, tables, and shelves in the store. Made of solid maple, with one surviving wooden clamp, the bench is covered with signs of its previous purpose.
“This piece was online, and I saw all the character marks and knife work,” says Curt. “It’s about the history and craftsmanship.”
Curt, who took over the business with his wife Francia after his father Owen E. Nance passed away, purchased the bench — which is not for sale — from auction for $900. A bargain price when compared to the average $2,700 that typical benches go for.
Despite its discount and one missing clamp, the bench still has a rich history. Curt says it once belonged to former NBA player, coach, and University of Evansville alum Jerry Sloane, who passed away in 2020.
Finding and learning the history behind pieces like this is Curt’s passion and how he keeps his father’s memory alive.
“We’ve been in business for 73 years, so I want to give homage to earlier storekeepers,” he says. “We deal in handmade items, so this is representative of what handmade is all about.”